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Coming More to Life: Restoring the Body’s Spirit With Wholebody Focusing

Event Phone: +1 (707) 315-2370

Most of what we call our personal life is bound by conditioned patterns and routines. These bodily patterns are so ingrained and automatic that they seem to have a life of their own. As such, we are often cut off from the depths and breadth of life, its richness, fullness and meaningfulness. Yet the deeper (more…)

  • Module 1 (day) - New Foundation: Whole-body as portal into & container of the body’s life
    January 4, 2018 - January 25, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: Grounded Presence; WB Awareness; 5 Spaces of body’s life-force; Co-Presence

    Classes: January 4; 11; 18; 25, 2018

  • Module 1 (evening) - New Foundation: Whole-body as portal into & container of the body’s life
    January 4, 2018 - January 25, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: Grounded Presence; WB Awareness; 5 Spaces of body’s life-force; Co-Presence

    Classes: January 4; 11; 18; 25, 2018

  • Module 2 (day) - Further awakening: the body’s energy comes more to life & expands/deepens
    February 1, 2018 - February 22, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: letting go & letting be; Stirring of body’s energy & feelings; inner-directed movement;

    Classes: February 1, 8, 15 22, 2018

  • Module 2 (evening) - Further awakening: the body’s energy comes more to life & expands/deepens
    February 1, 2018 - February 22, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: letting go & letting be; Stirring of body’s energy & feelings; inner-directed movement;

    Classes: February 1, 8, 15 22, 2018

  • Module 3 (day) - Returning & Dwelling: the body calls us back to explore inner places & patterns
    March 8, 2018 - March 29, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: Letting come & letting show; Immersing in body’s life; holding both; staying-with

    Classes: March 8, 15, 22, 29, 2018

  • Module 3 (evening) - Returning & Dwelling: the body calls us back to explore inner places & patterns
    March 8, 2018 - March 29, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: Letting come & letting show; Immersing in body’s life; holding both; staying-with

    Classes: March 8, 15, 22, 29, 2018

  • Module 4 (day) - Reemerging: the body’s life more fully unfolds to transform & re-integrate itself
    April 5, 2018 - April 26, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: Letting arise & unfold; embodying & expressing new life; holding embodied moments. Classes: April 8, 15, 22, 29, 2018
  • Module 4 (evening) - Reemerging: the body’s life more fully unfolds to transform & re-integrate itself
    April 5, 2018 - April 26, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: Letting arise & unfold; embodying & expressing new life; holding embodied moments. Classes: April 8, 15, 22, 29, 2018

Recovering Our Natural Spirit with Wholebody Focusing

Event Phone: +1 (707) 315-2370

Recovering Our Natural Spirit with Wholebody Focusing: Letting the body come alive and show the way A Four Module Series of Online WBF Training Programs with Glenn Fleisch, Ph.D. Focusing is a practice of connecting with and listening to the body, i.e. the body as felt inside. Wholebody Focusing takes this practice further into the (more…)

  • Module 1 (day) - Preparation: Wholebody-in-environment as aware container of the body’s life
    January 9, 2018 - January 30, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: Grounded Presence; WB Awareness; 5 Spaces of body’s life-force; Co-Presence.

    Classes: January 9; 16; 23; 30, 2018

  • Module 1 (evening) - Preparation: Wholebody-in-environment as aware container of the body’s life
    January 9, 2018 - January 30, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: Grounded Presence; WB Awareness; 5 Spaces of body’s life-force; Co-Presence.

    Classes: January 9; 16; 23; 30, 2018

  • Module 2 (day) - Awakening: the body’s life-energy comes alive & begins to open
    February 6, 2018 - February 27, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: letting go & letting be; Stirring of body’s energy & feelings; inner-directed movement;

    Classes - February 6, 13, 20 27, 2018

  • Module 2 (evening) - Awakening: the body’s life-energy comes alive & begins to open
    February 6, 2018 - February 27, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: letting go & letting be; Stirring of body’s energy & feelings; inner-directed movement;

    Classes - February 6, 13, 20 27, 2018

  • Module 3 (day) - Returning: the body calls us back to something that wants attention
    March 6, 2018 - March 27, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: Letting come & letting show; Immersing in body’s life; holding both; staying-with

    Classes: March 6, 13, 20, 27, 2018

  • Module 3 (evening) - Returning: the body calls us back to something that wants attention
    March 6, 2018 - March 27, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: Letting come & letting show; Immersing in body’s life; holding both; staying-with

    Classes: March 6, 13, 20, 27, 2018

  • Module 4 (day) - Reemerging: the body’s life unfolds to re-form & trans-form itself
    April 3, 2018 - April 24, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    - Elements: Letting arise & unfold; embodying & expressing new life; holding embodied moments.

    Classes: April 3, 10, 17, 24, 2018

  • Module 4 (evening) - Reemerging: the body’s life unfolds to re-form & trans-form itself
    April 3, 2018 - April 24, 2018
    5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
    - Elements: Letting arise & unfold; embodying & expressing new life; holding embodied moments.

    Classes: April 3, 10, 17, 24, 2018


Wholebody Focusing Therapy as Alchemical Transformation

Beneath, within, and beyond our conditioned and unconscious patterns lies an inner wellspring of wisdom and vitality that knows how to unwind our stress and traumas, as well as how to restore the connection with our natural body and natal spirit. The very symptoms of stress and trauma—and the embodied patterns that keep us from living the fullness of our being—contain the precise information and life energy to move toward their own healing. We refer to this vital force as our living body or our spirit- body. The living body includes our physical body, but it is more than physical. It also includes a deep wisdom, a knowingness that we call body intelligence.

We can also refer to it as Wholebody transformative alchemy- in the sense that the living body contains (or becomes) the “philosopher’s stone,” i.e. has a spirit, a life force, an energy of its own capable of transforming our whole sense of being in the world. Alchemy was the ancient practice, considered both scientific and philosophical for transmuting base metals into gold. On the symbolic level, alchemy or alchemical processes refer to any power or process of changing one thing into another – i.e. transmuting a common substance into a substance of great value and light. What has struck me about the alchemy of WBF is its sense that some process happens both within the body as well as between bodies, and within a larger connection with nature and life – that does feel or seem magical, and often mysterious. This seemingly unexplainable, magical or sudden change or shift is actually a product of a much deeper unfolding that has been occurring underground within the body and the body’s life force. We can call this process being led (turning lead) into gold, in the sense that by inviting the body to come alive, the intelligence of its life force and spirit will show us the way toward healing wounds, transforming life patterns, and recovering its natal spirit.

Thus, what in alchemy is called the opus, or the philosopher stone, we sense as the body’s vital energy, life-force and vitality. As we will be exploring in this group, the core dynamic of Alchemical Transformation in WBF, i.e. the process of both grounding awareness in our whole body inviting, and waiting for the body’s life force, it’s vital energy and spirit to waken, come alive and flow. It the coming of this vital energy, what has been called the body’s inner directed energy and wisdom, something that moves the body and awareness of its own, from within its own natural impulses, that is the heart of the WBF process in FOT.

Click here to download the entire article.

The Body’s Recovery of Spirit: Transforming Life-Stances & Releasing Bound Energy

Most of us live with some degree of bound energy and bodily constriction. Often, this bound up quality can be observed and felt in our bodily postures as well as in embodied life stances (lived comportments toward the world). Once formed, especially as a consequence of early life traumas, our body carries these life stances such that they become fixated, resulting in repetitive patterns of responding. These patterns become the background context, forming our primary identity or felt sense of self . They often go unnoticed, remain invisible as the background or horizon of our living until or when either life situations call for a new way of responding or our inner spirit calls us toward a desire for a freer, more authentic way of living. It is at these points where we can reach an impasse, as the forces desiring or needing change, are met with an equal or sometimes more powerful pull toward stasis and familiarity. This is where  we come upon the limen, i.e. the threshold, the edge of our bound and restricted bodily stances and living energy.

This paper presents a wholebody focusing process event called Threshold Events (TE ), specifically designed to facilitate transformations at this edge of blockage or impasse.

Click here to download the entire article.

Wholebody Focusing-Oriented Therapy: Four Avenues of Wholebody Felt Sensing for Transforming Symptoms of Trauma (co-author Karen Whalen, Ph.D.)

Wholebody Focusing (WBF) Oriented Therapy (WBFOT) (McEvenue and Fleisch, 2008; Whalen, 2009; Fleisch, 2009, 2010) is a recent development of Gendlin’s experiential process method of Focusing Oriented Therapy (1981, 1996). WBFOT is an integration of Gendlin’s seminal work on the centrality of accessing the wisdom of the living body through sustainedattention (Focusing) to a bodily felt sense, with the work of Kevin McEvenue on awakening the outward flow of bodily wisdom (felt sensing) through inner-directed movement. McEvenue discovered through his work as an Alexander Teacher and Focusing practitioner that physical and emotional habit-patterns can be transformed from within the body’s own intelligence by bringing a quality of conscious awareness to the whole body. Wholebody Focusing is a natural process of conscious awareness that connects to our living organism and environment in ways that activate an Inner Intelligence (body-wisdom). This inner wellspring of intelligence and vitality lies implicit beneath our conditioned and unconscious patterns of being, thinking, moving, and doing. Our Wholebody Intelligence remains intact in every human being regardless of severity of trauma. It knows how to unwind our stress and traumas and move forward our unfinished life situations.

The inward coming of life forward energy and movement is contained within the symptom of trauma itself, and knows its way back to membership within the Functioning Whole. Gendlin (1996, p.149) describes it beautifully as “It is a healing that comes from underneath. With this kind of relational and inward attention the whole intricate mesh reorganizes itself… We do very little.” Yet we will show that the little we do, bringing conscious awareness to the living body of feeling/experiencing makes all the difference in allowing trauma patterns to unwind from within.

Click here to download entire article.

Theater of the Living Body: Expressive Improvisation in Focusing-Oriented Therapy

One can make an analogy between the living body and theater, as both are “sites” of dramatic events and experiences. In fact, the original meaning of theater is “A place for viewing or seeing; a place that is the setting for dramatic events, where significant actions or events take place.” Based on Gendlin’s philosophy of the implicit (implicit understanding/ bodily knowing), the process of Focusing in general, and Wholebody Focusing in particular involves the coming alive and spontaneous unfolding of bodily lived events. They are forms of improvisation in the sense that what comes is not pre-scripted or predicted, but emerges in its own way and time, from the wellspring of the living body’s attunement to the right feel and next steps of its development.

Over the past few years, I have noticed how a wholebody focusing process, as an individual session or over a course of therapy, has the flavor of a journey and can be thought of as enacting a story or drama from the living body. This can be in the form of a gesture, movement or posture that carries a bodily knowing or implying of something that needs attention, next step of living (I have elsewhere called these implicit leads, Fleisch, 2008). The dramatic aspect can be played out between two distinct gestures or movements that can interact with each other. This can also be explored via a bodily sensation, energy or connection between some part of the client and myself as we both Co-Presence the felt sense of what is emerging. When allowed to move outward into expression, movement, interaction, enactment etc., the bodily coming that arises has a more full-bodied way of being experienced, expressed and carried forward. I will show how this process functions both in my therapy practice and in another paper, in retreat/workshop settings, where the whole group serves as a container for the process of each person “on stage.”

In this article, I will present some ways that I have observed and developed this process I have termed the theater of the living body. The main purpose here is descriptive of instances and examples, as these form the foundation of then stepping back and attempting to explicate what makes this type of process “work.” Thus, the theoretical implications are still in process and will be presented in a future paper.

Click here to download entire paper.

Pantomiming: An Expressive Element in Wholebody Focusing-Oriented Therapy

A pantomime is a form of theatre and performance in which the actors play parts or express certain characteristics or feelings through nonverbal means. Thus, something done in pantomime would occur via gestures, facial expression, physical movements, often in a farcical or exaggerated manner. As I have been integrating a more Wholebody perspective (as originated by Kevin McEvenue) into Focusing and Focusing-oriented Therapy, I have observed how frequently important aspects of experiencing are expressed through movements, gestures, posture, musculature, etc. The bodily expressiveness can be different from the verbal content of speech or can amplify and extend the implicit felt meaning of what is being verbalized. Pantomiming is a more explicit invitation for clients to further play out or enact how their body is carrying or expressing some aspect of themselves to which they are referring. It is especially helpful and freeing for clients who tend to suppress or curtail aspects of their experiencing and/or are aware of certain ingrained or repetitive patterns or parts of themselves.

Click here to download the entire article.

 

Focusing-Oriented Therapy with Disconnected Process

Disconnected process refers to a structure-bound state of blockage in which at least one or more aspects of oneself are kept out of awareness. Most often, there is a pronounced difficulty in recognizing and relating with the felt quality of experiencing, at times manifest as a distancing from immediate feelings and bodily sensations.

In one sense, most everyone manifests some level of disconnection, even when we say “Fine,” to the question of “How are you doing today?” when there is clearly more happening inwardly that is either not experienced or not verbalized.

At more severe levels, there can be a chronic lack of awareness of what one is experiencing or feeling, to the point of not recognizing emotional or physical reactions. Sometimes, certain parts of experiencing are kept out of awareness as when there is an unconscious, automatic pattern of blocking out aggressive, sexual or anxious feelings.

When extreme, people may not be aware of any feeling or sensory experiencing, and when their consciousness can detach from bodily reactions so that there is a reporting of being “numb” or “blank” or “feeling nothing”, or, at its most extreme, “deadness.” The basic pattern involves some type of splitting of awareness: between the person and the body, or parts of the body, or some aspects of experiencing, or between “parts‟ of the personality.

Click here to read the entire article.

Right in Their Hands: How Gestures Imply the Body’s Next Steps

A man comes to see me to overcome social anxiety, especially with public speaking and with women. In the midst of describing his fears, he states, “I don’t know what to do to eliminate these anxious feelings… It’s not clear…” While he is stating this, I observe his hands making this distinct movement: both hands are facing each other, fingers curled, making a sphere-like shape, with hands rotating back and forth in opposite directions around this sphere. I point out the movement and invite him to observe and sense the feel of the gesture, what it might be conveying to him. He first observes the gestural motion, then closes his eyes. “What it feels like is something in me crawling into a shell, closing off from the world… It feels safe in there, like I’m protected and sheltered.” He says his whole body feels calmer, and that something about the gestural motion feels right to him. He describes how his hands are showing a spherical shape, something that could comfort a scared, insecure part of him by holding it safely inside this shell. “Yeah [sigh], if I could protect that part of me in this shell, it feels more comfortable, and my anxiety goes down. I feel much more relaxed.” What a great illustration of something Eugene Gendlin writes: “More powerful than letting words come from a felt sense may be letting body movement come.”

I call these phenomena gestural leads, as these gestures are a way that our organism discloses something unformulated that could carry forward our experiential process toward solutions and further living. Our hands seem to convey wisdom of their own, providing a bridge, a visual, moving space that helps us to transition from what is known to what is emerging, but not yet known.

Click here to download the entire article.

Integrating Wholebody Focusing in Focusing-Oriented Therapy

In this part of the article, I (Glenn) will be presenting how I have integrated Wholebody Focusing (WBF) into Focusing-oriented therapy (FOT). Working with the whole body expands Focusing and significantly transforms therapy. I will explore how WBF is already embedded in Gendlin’s philosophy and theory of change, especially his concept of bodily implying, i.e. how inwardly arising movement is often the body’s lead to next steps and direction of solution. In addition, some examples will show how physical movement generates new energy and positive space toward solution, transforming stuck patterns occasioned by chronic or acute trauma.

Click here to download the entire article.

 

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